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Missoula Personal Injury Blog

How robots are improving medical outcomes

People in Montana and throughout the country may be increasingly treated using robots during diagnosis and surgery, and researchers say that this will lead to more positive outcomes. One of those devices is a 3D-printed robot that researchers say can enter an MRI chamber and do biopsies for suspected breast cancer. In tests that involved taking biopsies from model breasts, the robotic system was accurate to a sub-millimeter degree. Currently, breast biopsies are done using a larger needle; they may require several attempts and are less efficient.

The device, known as Stormram 4, is made of plastic since metal cannot be used in an MRI, and researchers use air pressure to control it. It will be several years before the device is approved: There must be further testing and development before it meets regulatory standards.

Pinpointing causes of car crashes can help avoid them

Car crashes are always a concern for drivers in Montana and across the country as 6 million accidents take place each year in the United States. There is a wide range of causes for car accidents, and the number of incidents increased in both 2015 and 2016.

Several studies have helped identify detailed explanations for car accidents; these studies seek not only to understand why crashes happen but how to prevent them from occurring in the future. One 2008 study examined 6,950 motor vehicle accidents and detailed their causes. Other studies equipped cars with sonar, sensors and cameras, tracking the daily usage patterns and accidents of participating cars. All of this research has revealed several major factors in causing car crashes, often the result of simple misunderstandings.

December 2017 dedicated to impaired driving awareness

On Nov. 30, the White House issued a proclamation designating December 2017 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Drivers in Montana are probably familiar with the dangers of driving while intoxicated, but they can spread greater awareness and do what they can to keep intoxicated people from getting behind the wheel this month.

A good portion of the press release is devoted to some very relevant statistics. While alcohol used to contribute to two-thirds of traffic fatalities about 40 years ago, that number has since gone down. In the past few years, however, the trend has once again begun to assert itself: In 2016, for example, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes. This made up 28 percent of that year's traffic fatalities. Every 50 minutes, one person in the U.S. dies in an alcohol-related crash.

Diagnosing and treating pneumonia and lung cancer

People in Montana who are exhibiting symptoms of lung cancer or pneumonia will undergo medical tests to determine if they suffer from either condition. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, a plan of treatment will be administered.

In order to diagnose pneumonia, a physician may conduct a physical examination that will involve checking for a fever, abnormal breathing or glandular swelling. An X-ray that can reveal the accumulation of fluid in the lungs or a simple blood test may be used to confirm the diagnosis.

Navigating the difficult aftermath of a car accident

A car accident can be both traumatic and complicated for all Montana parties involved. If your accident was the result of a negligent or reckless motorist, you may have a rightful claim to financial compensation, but you may not be sure how to pursue that compensation. While you are dealing with the emotional, physical and financial implications of a car accident, you may also need to know how to navigate the complex process of a civil claim.

What you do in the minutes, days and weeks after a car accident matters. You would be wise to carefully step through this process, working intentionally to preserve your interests and eventually get the restitution you need for your medical bills and other accident-related expenses.

ADHD medication could lower car crash risk

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a chronic condition that affects a person's attention span and ability to control impulses. Those with ADHD may have symptoms such as excessive talking and fidgeting. Drivers in Montana can see, then, why ADHD can be a concern when on the road. A study published by JAMA Psychiatry, however, has shown that medication may lower the risk for car crashes due to ADHD.

Researchers found that over 2.3 million Americans over the age of 18 have ADHD. Between the years 2005 and 2014, there were 11,224 ADHD patients who visited an emergency room following a car accident. Among these drivers, nearly 84 percent received medication at some point; This is based on records of filled prescriptions and does not guarantee that the drivers actually took the medication.

Diabetes type three often misdiagnosed

As an increasing number of adults are diagnosed with diabetes in Montana and across the United States, some are incorrectly diagnosed. A certain subset of the population suffers from a lesser-known type of diabetes that is related to pancreatic disorders and requires different treatments than types one or two.

In addition to types one and two and gestational diabetes, there is also diabetes type three, which is not well recognized by medical professionals or the public. This type of diabetes is caused by pancreatic disorders. Many people who suffer diabetes following pancreatic diseases may actually have type three diabetes but be diagnosed with adult-onset, or type two, diabetes instead.

Study shows racial disparity in breast cancer death rates

Breast cancer deaths have decreased by 39 percent between 1989 and 2015, according to a report by the American Cancer Society. While this is good news, the report also noted some racial disparities. For example, African-American women are 39 percent less likely to survive breast cancer than white women. It is a problem that affects Montana residents; although, the highest death rates among black women are in South Central states, Mid-Atlantic states, and California.

One factor in the disparity is socioeconomic status. Many black women are unable to get preventive screening and counseling, and they have limited access to drugs like Tamoxifen, which can help in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Some may even be prevented by their work to undergo radiation therapy.

Symptoms and treatment of tongue cancer

Some Montana patients have developed cancer in part of their mouth. Tongue cancer often forms in the squamous cells that cover the surface of two-thirds of the tongue. Cancer that forms in the remaining one-third of the tongue, which is located in the back of the tongue, is considered to belong to a group of neck or head cancers.

Tongue cancer can have certain symptoms that can often be mistaken for symptoms associated with regular colds or persistent mouth sores. These symptoms can potentially include jaw or tongue pain, thickening inside the mouth, white patches on the gums, tongue or mouth lining and difficulty chewing or swallowing. Other symptoms could include a sore throat or the persistent feeling of something being caught in the throat.

Daytime headlight usage and accident reduction

Montana drivers may be safer if they keep their headlights on during the day as well as at night. Although multiple studies have indicated that this is the case, just over one-fourth of vehicles manufactured at present have day running lights. Therefore, it has been proposed that there should simply be a law requiring drivers to keep their lights on at all times.

Some of the studies have found an accident reduction rate as high as 10 percent when headlights are used during the day. Their use has reduced pedestrian accidents by 12 percent and motorcycle accidents by as much as 23 percent. This is particularly significant since these are the types of accidents that tend to result in serious injuries and fatalities. The reduction is all due to greater visibility.


Towe & Fitzpatrick, PLLC
619 SW Higgins, Ste. O
P.O. Box 1745
Missoula, MT 59806

Phone: 406-203-5148
Phone: 406-829-1669
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